Christ the King Year A

     Jesus often teaches His most important lessons through telling stories which we call parables. The beautiful thing about parables is they speak on many different levels enabling them to reach everyone no matter where they may be in their own spiritual journey. Perhaps one of the easiest ways to understand the lesson of each parable is to step back and ask ourselves where we fit into the story.

     So where do you see yourself in the parable we just heard? If you are anything like me, you find yourself in both camps. If we are honest, I think we will realize that many times we give generously to those in need, yet at the same time there are those moments where we didn’t have enough time to be bothered and miss the chance to encounter Christ present in those in need.

     While this is a good start in understanding the parable, I think we need to go a little further if we want to see the whole message Jesus has for us in this parable. Instead of seeing ourselves as those on the left or the right, perhaps we need to ask if we can see ourselves as one of the poor who are in need of others. So often we like to pretend that we have everything together and only seek the help we need when our backs are against the wall and we have no other option. It seems that most of us would rather suffer than reach out for the help we need. Yet did you notice that Jesus doesn’t identify Himself with those who have everything together? No, Jesus identifies with those in need. His whole earthly life Jesus was one of those in need. He was born poor and helpless. He was born in need and died in need. He lived and moved and had His being in need and on the Day of Judgment we will find Him with those in need.

     We can truly do allot in our lives, but whether we want to admit it or not, all of us are in need. Look at your life. Isn’t it true that a whole lot of trouble, pain, hurt and estrangement could have been avoided in our lives if we wouldn’t have refused to admit that we need help?  Don’t we so often find ourselves in trouble when we refuse to admit we don’t have the answers, or that we might be wrong?

     Perhaps, it is possible to make it through this life on our own, but the journey to eternal life is not possible without the help of Jesus. So today, as we stand on the cusp of Advent where we prepare ourselves from the coming of Christ, we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. We remind ourselves that Jesus wants to be our King and if Christ is going to be the king of our lives then we need to be faithful subjects. Being a Christian demands the humility to recognize that if we want to be welcomed into that kingdom prepared for us from the foundation of the world, we must humble ourselves to allow Christ to be the King of our Lives. After all “the thing that counts in Christianity is obedience, humility in the face of God’s word.”[1]

     Sure all of us will admit that Christ is the King of our lives, but if He is truly the king of our lives we need to humble ourselves and allow Him to rule our lives. This demands that we admit that “no one is strong enough to travel the entire path of salvation unaided. All have sinned, all need the Lord’s mercy, the love of the crucified one.”[2] If Christ is going to be the king of our lives, then we need to be humble subjects recognizing our own imperfections and our own need for help along the path of salvation. W simply cannot claim Jesus is the king of our lives and then try to do everything on our own. If Jesus is truly the King of our lives, then we must allow ourselves to be His subjects and turn to Him to provide for our needs.

     As Catholics we declare that Christ is King of heaven and earth but crowning Jesus as King with our words is not enough. Even those who put Jesus to death mockingly called Him a king and crowned Him with a crown of thorns. Today we are challenged to ask ourselves what kind of crown we place on Jesus head. Do we crown Him with a royal crown truly making Him the Lord of our life and the King of our hearts by humbling ourselves to recognize our own failures and our need for His assistance or do we crown Jesus with thorns by paying His kingship lip service and living as if we have everything together on our own?

[1] Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Dogma and Preaching Applying Christian Doctrine to Daily Life. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2011.  Pg. 277.

[2] Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Jesus of Nazareth Part II. San Francisco: Ignatius Press,2011. Pgs. 151 – 152

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